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Effective meetings

If young unemployed people are to be motivated to start a training course, their personal meeting with a case officer is an important step on the way. However, the job centre in the City of Odense finds that too many young people fail to attend meetings, and that the meetings are not as effective as they could be. By involving citizens and case officers, we discovered that the recipe for a more effective meeting is a mixture of reinforcing good relations with the case officer and giving the citizen more ownership of the process.

From summons to invitation
A number of factors contribute to a citizen’s motivation to even turn up to a meeting with a case officer. To create the right contact, the personal relations between the two are essential. The citizen needs to meet a person they can talk to, not a large, remote system. The summons to a meeting received by the citizen in their e-box is anything but motivating. It is more about explaining the consequences of not attending than motivating the citizen to progress. Consequently, we worked on making the summons a motivational invitation. We challenged the municipality’s current text message solution to strengthen relations between the citizen and the case officer and make their communication easier.

  

“The summons to a meeting with a case officer is getting to look like a long piece of legislation. When the list of paragraphs and consequences lands in the citizen’s digital mailbox, it creates anxiety, and things get off to a bad start. Instead of attending with a motivated mindset, citizens attend because they are anxious about what will happen if they don’t come. This is a very unfortunate starting point for personal development.”

– Mads Bonde Clausen, Contact Manager at MindLab

 

Citizens must own their plans
It is a natural part of the process for the case officer to document what happens during the meeting with the citizen. However, for the citizen, this means that, when the meeting is over, the plan is on an online platform that the user rarely access, so it may be difficult to remember what was agreed. Based on this knowledge, we developed a prototype, a personal notebook with a simple handheld plan that is completed by the citizen during the meeting and taken home by them. By putting the plan physically in the hands of the citizen, we shifted ownership from the case officer to the citizen themselves. The plan also permits the citizen to process what happened at the meeting and set the framework in which to prepare for the next meeting.
 
One of the findings of an evaluation of the test process was that citizens and case officers agree that the plan contributes to making meetings more structured. Several citizens mentioned that the plan has reduced their anxiety and bad conscience prior to the meeting, while others emphasized that the plan gives them an overview that makes it easier to prepare for the next meeting.